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INTRODUCTORY   ESSAY.                                     35
and perpetuated by cuttings. Similar examples are afforded
by all out domestic fruit-trees, among which, by a practised
eye, many different sorts can be recognized at once.
In conclusion, the majority of our readers will smile when
we add that the general impression of persons of intelligence,
that they know our common English trees at first sight/is to
a gteat degrees illusory: we have all an ideal Oak, Elm, Pop-
lar, etc., and we call the specimens that do not come up to
that ideal abnormal, and representations of such we say are
not characteristic; but let any one keep a watch upon himself
in the fields, parks, or forests of countries not his own, yet
tenanted by trees specifically the same as those of his own,
and we venture to assert that he wifl find his preconceived
ideas fall to the ground in very many cases. We do not
.mean to say that he will not recognize a park oak, churchyard
yew, or weeping willow; but we do assert that he will not
recognize by habit the same oak ait the Cape of Good Hope,
where it is now abundant, or the same yew in a thick forest;
and we may add that no Himalayan traveller within our ex-
perience has, on his return to England, ever recognized the
Deodar at Kew Gardens' by habit to her the plant of those
mountains, and that, on the contrary, we feave frequently had
the Cedar of Lebanon pointed out as that tree;
It is very much to be wished that the lofcal botanist should
commence his studies upon a diametrically opposite principle
to that upon which he now proceeds, and that he should en-
deavour, by selecting good suites of specimens, produced under
all variations of circumstances, to determine how few, not how
many species are comprised in the flora of his district. The
permanent differences will, he may depend upon it, soon force
themselves upon his attention, whilst those whidh are non-
essential will conseputively be eliminated. There is no better
way of proving the validity of characters than by attempting
to invalidate them. The unavoidable tendency of the human
mind, when occupied with the pursuit of minute differences, &
to seize on them with avidity,, and to relinquish them with re-